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Southern Section Boys' Basketball Playoffs

Wolverines Pulling Away From Duarte

Division III-A: Harvard-Westlake beats Falcons for third consecutive year and it keeps getting worse.

March 01, 1997|MITCH POLIN | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

AZUSA — For the Harvard-Westlake boys' basketball team, the road to the Southern Section Division III-A championship passes through Duarte.

The teams have met in the Division III-A semifinals three consecutive seasons and the results have grown progressively more lopsided.

The Wolverines (31-1), ranked No. 1 in the state, made it three in a row over Duarte (22-7) with an 81-51 victory at Azusa High on Friday.

Harvard-Westlake received more of a challenge than it did in its first two playoff games but the Wolverines were never in jeopardy.

The Falcons went on a 7-2 run to pull to within 10 midway through the second quarter before twins Jason and Jarron Collins combined for the next 10 points and Harvard-Westlake led, 41-21, at halftime.

"The one thing they [the Falcons] had going was they finally got away from our neutral site [Notre Dame High]," Coach Greg Hilliard said. "They came out fired up and we had one little stretch early in the second quarter when we got a little tentative."

But it was mostly business as usual for the Wolverines.

Facing a Duarte squad that did not have a player taller than 6-foot-5, Harvard-Westlake was consistently able to pound the ball inside to the 6-10 Collinses.

Jason finished with 28 points, 15 rebounds, five assists and five steals, and Jarron had 14 points, 15 rebounds and five assists.

The Wolverines also relied on the outside shooting of guard Ryan Smiley, who had 17 points and five rebounds, and point guard Victor Munoz, who added 10 assists.

Jason Collins said the Falcons, who got 23 points from guard Willie Brown, were the most physical team the Wolverines have faced in the playoffs.

"I knew it was going to be that way," he said. "They kept playing us hard until the end."

That should be good practice for the Wolverines, who figure to receive a more difficult challenge before the state title game. They will face Morningside in the III-A championship game next week.

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